The Writer's Almanac today shares the news that it's Galway Kinnell's birthday:
It's the birthday of poet Galway Kinnell, born in Providence, Rhode Island (1927). He became obsessed with the poetry of William Butler Yeats in college when his roommate, the poet W. S. Merwin, woke him up one night and read Yeats to him until dawn. After that night, Kinnell devoted himself to writing poetry.Kinnell's also the author of Strong Is Your Hold, published this past November, his eleventh collection. I've not yet seen it, but have heard reports that it's an intense, rich book - what I'd expect, given his previous work.
He's the author of many books of poetry, including Body Rags (1968) and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980). His Selected Poems (1980) won both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He said, "Maybe the best we can do is do what we love as best we can."
A little known fact: though not generally associated with the Black Mountain Poets (Olson, Creeley, Dorn, Jonathan Williams, et al.), Kinnell did attend Black Mountain College just after he'd encountered W. S. Merwin and the poetry of Yeats. More about that, no doubt, in a future post.
Happy birthday to one of the essential poets of his - or any - time.
Thanks to famouspoetsandpoems.com for the photo, and to Laura for the news that Kinnell attended BMC.